Frequently asked questions relating to the Aviva Equity Release Conveyancing Panel
from members of the public
I am progressing with the sale of my flat and the EA has just texted me to warn that the purchasers are swapping conveyancer. The excuse is that Aviva Equity Release will only work with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. On what basis would a major lender only engage with specific solicitors?
UK lenders have always had an approved set of law firms they are willing to work with, but in the past few years big names such as Lloyds Banking Group, have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for decades.
Lenders blame a rise in fraud as the reason for the cull – criteria have been tightened and a smaller panel should be easier to keep an eye on. No lender will say how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society says it is being contacted daily by practices that have been removed from panels, or have other concerns about them. Some do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyer’s case. Your purchasers are unlikely to have any sway in the decision.
I am due to complete my purchase next Thursday. I have now been asked to send a copy of my building insurance schedule by my solicitor as as he informs me that he is duty bound to validate that it is in order for Aviva Equity Release. What risks do Aviva Equity Release expect the insurance to cover?
Any lawyer on the Aviva Equity Release conveyancing panel would need to check that the following risks are covered fire; lightning; aircraft; explosion; earthquake; storm; flood; escape of water or oil; riot; malicious damage; theft or attempted theft; falling trees and branches and aerials; subsidence; heave;landslip;collision;accidental damage to underground services;professional fees, demolition and site clearance costs; and public liability to anyone else. There are some other issues such as the level of excess that are set out in Aviva Equity Release’s Part 2 requirements of the CML Handbook (last updated on Aviva Equity Release). Being on the Aviva Equity Release conveyancing panel your lawyer is expect to follow these instructions.
Are there any apps to help find a local solicitor on the Aviva Equity Release conveyancing panel? I have a car and am prepared to travel up to 20 miles to meet the conveyancer.
You can use the find a conveyancing panel tool on this website. Please choose the lender and your location and you will see a number of lawyer located nearest you. Alternatively you can type in the name of your proposed law firm and see if they are listed as being on the Aviva Equity Release solicitor panel.
The solicitors that I recently instructed on my house acquisition in Newcastle has suddenly shut down. I chose them because I had to have a solicitor on the Aviva Equity Release conveyancing panel and my preferred lawyer was not. I paid them £200 on account. What are my options?
Assuming that you have an Estate Agent in the equation then inform them straight away so that they advise the vendors that there may be a slight delay due to the problems encountered. Hopefully they will be sympathetic and urge their lawyer to send a new set of papers to your new solicitors. You will need to appoint new lawyers that are on the Aviva Equity Release conveyancing panel and notify the lender. If you have paid over any money it will hopefully be held by the SRA as money in an intervened firm's bank accounts is transferred to the SRA. Then, the SRA or the intervention agent looks at the intervened firm's accounts to work out who the money belongs to. To claim your money you will need to contact the SRA. If the SRA cannot return money you are owed from the firm's bank accounts, or if they can only return part of the money, you can apply to the Compensation Fund for a grant. Your new solicitors should be in a position to assist
Can you point me to a directory of Aviva Equity Release panel solicitors on the Council of Mortgage Lender’s Website?
No. There is no such tool on the Council of Mortgage Lenders or Building Society Association websites. Very few lenders make their panel listings available online.
Do most lenders operate their own panel of solicitors?
Many lenders do operate a restricted conveyancing panel but a lot of lenders allow any solicitors to join their panel so long as they meet their criteria. Each lender sets their own criteria. For example the Aviva Equity Release conveyancing panel requirements are different to Aviva Equity Release’s conveyancing panel requirements.
My ex -wife’s name is on the Aviva Equity Release mortgage of my property but not on the land registry. The apartment was transferred to me on our divorce many years ago by way of a sealed court order. Does my ex still have a say on the sale even though the land registry showing the property in my name alone? Will I be required to take her name of the Aviva Equity Release mortgage in order to sell?
As regards the Aviva Equity Release mortgage, it is unusual that your ex-wife’s name remains on the mortgage but not on the title. It is conceivable that this is an oversight on the part of your conveyancers to ensure that her name was removed or even an administrative error on the part of Aviva Equity Release in failing to update their data. In any event, it should cause difficulty providing her name no longer appears on the Land Registry title and you have a court order ordering that the property is transferred to you.